Armed with a venture capital war chest, iXL, Atlanta, has moved into an aggressive expansion mode in New York and has hired a new president to run an office in the city.
Lara Stein, president of iXL, New York, left her high-profile position in business development at Microsoft's m3p creative development office in Manhattan, where she was producing content for the Microsoft Network for a year and a half. There is no longer a m3p office in New York, and Microsoft has unloaded or discontinued most of the original shows it had commissioned for MSN.
Bert Ellis, chairman and chief executive of iXL Holdings, has been keen on acquisitions since January, when he announced the company had raised $30 million from Chase Capital Partners, Flatiron Partners and others, to buy digital media companies.
Stein said iXL is going after a series of vertical markets in entertainment, travel and finance. Ellis has already acquired BoxTop in Los Angeles, a design shop specializing in entertainment, and Green Room Productions, San Francisco, for travel. In New York, iXL acquired Small World Software, which develops fantasy sports games. At least two more acquisitions in New York are imminent, according to Stein.
Stein will focus on Web design for entertainment companies in New York with the creation of BoxTop East. She also wants to create a strong presence in the financial category and cultivate "convergence" projects.
Stein said she might reconsider content projects or shows she had greenlighted for MSN, but not in the near future. "Right now I don't see a lot of money in this space," she said. "I'm not looking at content. I'm looking at people and management teams."